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Charcot-Bouchard aneurysms revisited: clinicopathologic correlations.


Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Hypertension and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) are the most common causes of primary ICH, but the mechanism of hemorrhage in both conditions is unclear. Although fibrinoid necrosis and Charcot-Bouchard aneurysms (CBAs) have been postulated to underlie vessel rupture in ICH, the role and significance of CBAs in ICH has been controversial. First described as the source of bleeding in hypertensive hemorrhage, they are also one of the CAA-associated microangiopathies along with fibrinoid necrosis, fibrosis and "lumen within a lumen appearance." We describe clinicopathologic findings of CBAs found in 12 patients out of over 2700 routine autopsies at a tertiary academic medical center. CBAs were rare and predominantly seen in elderly individuals, many of whom had multiple systemic and cerebrovascular comorbidities including hypertension, myocardial and cerebral infarcts, and CAA. Only one of the 12 subjects with CBAs had a large ICH, and the etiology underlying the hemorrhage was likely multifactorial. Two CBAs in the basal ganglia demonstrated associated microhemorrhages, while three demonstrated infarcts in the vicinity. CBAs may not be a significant cause of ICH but are a manifestation of severe cerebral small vessel disease including both hypertensive arteriopathy and CAA.

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